The Lymphatic Vasculature: Its Role in Adipose Metabolism and Obesity
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Obesity is a key risk factor for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, and although we understand the mechanisms regulating weight and energy balance, the causes of some forms of obesity remain enigmatic. Despite the well-established connections between lymphatics and lipids, and the fact that intestinal lacteals play key roles in dietary fat absorption, the function of the lymphatic vasculature in adipose metabolism has only recently been recognized. It is well established that angiogenesis is tightly associated with the outgrowth of adipose tissue, as expanding adipose tissue requires increased nutrient supply from blood vessels. Results supporting a crosstalk between lymphatic vessels and adipose tissue, and linking lymphatic function with metabolic diseases, obesity, and adipose tissue, also started to accumulate in the last years. Here we review our current knowledge of the mechanisms by which defective lymphatics contribute to obesity and fat accumulation in mouse models, as well as our understanding of the lymphatic-adipose tissue relationship. Obesity and cardiovascular diseases are leading causes of death and disability. In this Review, Oliver and Escobedo expose the relationships between lymphatics, metabolism, and obesity and discuss how this knowledge will provide us with better tools to diagnose and treat some of these pathological conditions. © 2017 Elsevier Inc.
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